When we left North Carolina, one of the birds we enjoyed immensely but sadly left behind was the Northern Cardinal. Such a brilliantly red, active year-round resident of the East. Fast forward to New Mexico and the State Park we visited after Percha Dam is called Rockhound. Known for its geology (thunder eggs) and breathtaking scenery (Florida Mountains), we were prepared to oooh and aaahhhhh at the view while finding a few rocky gems.
Little did we know the birds would captivate us, especially the Pyrrhuloxia, a cousin to the Northern Cardinal and full fledged member of the cardinal family.
No sooner did we set up camp and we were visited by a Pyrrhuloxia (pronounced peer-uuuuh-lox-zia). He must’ve been the group lookout, because he perched in the yucca next to our RV and began calling a warning. But not a warning to steer clear, rather an invitation to come and check us out! And a small group did fly in to investigate our stuff to within a foot of us.
What a treat!
Cornell describes the Pyrrhuloxia as a ”dapper, tough-as-nails” songbird of the desert SW. A perfect description for such a cool bird.
By the way the scenery was breathtaking, and even though we didn’t find any thunder eggs, our close encounter with Pyrrhuloxias made our visit to Rockhound SP more than memorable.